This man is TB Joshua, Nigerian mega-preacher and international celebrity. Supporters say he is a great prophet, humanitarian and Man of God. Others have claimed he is a cult leader, sex criminal and fraud. The purpose of this website is to critically examine his ministry and attempt to separate truth from lies. This first post will attempt to explain what this is all about. Bear with us, it’s a bit of a long story.
Who is TB Joshua?
The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) is a vast church based in Lagos and is led by the self-described prophet TB Joshua. Over the last fifteen years his ministry has gained a reputation for healing, particularly grave illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. He has international reach; there have been healing services all around Africa and Asia. Many people, often poor and in desperate circumstances, spend thousands of dollars in order to receive healing at the church.
Scores of Christians from Europe and Africa have been attracted by the drama of SCOAN. They come to live as disciples in a complex inside the Lagos church and every aspect of their life is controlled by the ‘Prophet’. Over the last decade, TB Joshua has provoked controversy and debate following former disciples’ allegations of sexual and psychological abuse. Many claim that SCOAN has all the hallmarks of a cult.
Why is this website necessary?
Not enough people know about the abusive aspects of SCOAN, and despite allegations going back ten years, the internet is still dominated by pro-TB Joshua propaganda. There is a good reason for this- TB Joshua is a multimillion dollar brand and he is savvy enough to understand the importance of PR. Ex-disciples have claimed that he has a team dedicated to providing false testimonies and positive comments online. TB Joshua’s wikipedia page certainly backs up these claims; genuinely fair-minded editors seem to have long since given up on it.
(update: I put a line about abuse in this week and it seems to be holding, so perhaps TB’s team are slacking)
You can find critical coverage of TB Joshua online, but it doesn’t come across as authoritative or credible. Much is couched in over-the-top religious language: he is the antichrist, he is a satanist and he practices witchcraft. But looking past the hyperbole, many of the allegations of abuse are consistent with each other and match first-hand accounts that we have heard.
This website will compile and review existing articles and media concerning TB Joshua, providing context where necessary. It will also present some first-hand accounts of ex-supporters who have left the church.
Who runs this website? Why are you so worked up about TB Joshua?
TB Joshua came to our attention in around 2000 when several members of our church went out to witness the miracles that apparently took place in his church in Lagos. When two members of our congregation were diagnosed with cancer, they went to Lagos to receive healing from TB Joshua. They were assured by TB Joshua that they were healed and told to stop taking medication or receiving medical treatment. One woman cancelled a mastectomy that could have saved her. Despite this, they both died after many months of physical agony, not to mention spiritual and psychological torment. It is likely that this is a story familiar to hundreds of others, if not thousands.
So to sum up, this church was torn apart by the teaching and influence of TB Joshua. Several families were traumatized by his false promises and healing theology, other families have lost members to his cult. Several of our old church friends, people we grew up with and worshipped with, are still in Lagos and their lives and minds are completely controlled by TB Joshua. There’s a very good chance that some are being sexually abused by him. And still, very few people seem to be speaking out against him.
So it’s fair to say that we have an agenda. But beyond our personal TB Joshua baggage, are there any other reasons we are concerned about this guy? Well, the suffering that our own friends and acquaintances have experienced due to TB Joshua is just the tip of a vast iceberg. Literally thousands of people come for healing every week, the vast majority poor, many travelling from other countries in Africa. The ‘healing’ of AIDS is a particular cause for concern. Videos show people paraded with sandwich boards claiming they have been healed of AIDS, brandishing doctors’ certificates that apparently prove it. If this is a fraud, imagine the devastation it could cause in the communities they return to. And imagine this happening week in, week out, for the last decade.
We don’t believe that TB Joshua is the antichrist. We don’t even rule out the possibility that good things have happened in his church. But we believe TB Joshua is a fallible man who holds a position of great power and influence, and he must be held to account. This website is our own small attempt to spread awareness and to make sense of the information that surrounds him.
If you’ve been affected either directly or indirectly by TB Joshua, feel free to get in touch. It would be great to hear from you, and we’d welcome contributions from others.